After surrendering three goals in Monday’s third period and sitting out Tuesday’s game with an illness, Dubuque goaltender Arthur Brey rebounded to send his Fighting Saints to the USHL Clark Cup Final.
In Saturday’s decisive Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, Brey stopped all 23 shots the Youngstown Phantoms fired at him as Dubuque won, 4-0, to capture the series, 3-2.
The Phantoms ended their best season in four years in the USHL with a 5-4 record in the postseason and a 37-27-0 record in the regular season.
Phantoms goaltender Sean Romeo made 20 saves in the game at the Mystique Community Ice Center.
After a scoreless first period, the Saints erupted for three goals in the second period.
About eight minutes into the middle period, Jarrid Privitera scored the game-winning goal with assists from Joseph Manno and Jeff Taylor.
Five minutes later, the Saints struck twice within 66 seconds to seize control. Evan Janssen scored the first of his two goals with 7:26 remaining in the second period. Manno and Privitera assisted on the goal.
Shortly thereafter, Shane Sooth scored on a set-up by Frank DiChiara for a 3-0 lead.
In the final period, Janssen scored an empty-net goal with 2:19 remaining. Manno and Privitera had the assists.
Both teams went 0-2 of their power-play chances.
The loss capped one of the Phantoms’ best weeks. After losing the first two games of the series by scores of 3-2 and 3-1, the third-seeded Phantoms stunned the Saints on Monday at the Covelli Centre. Trailing 3-1 entering the third period, Cam Brown and Markus McCrea scored within 27 seconds to tie the game.
John Padulo later scored the game winner, forcing Game 4.
On Tuesday, Christian Frey replaced Frey in the Dubuque goal and the Phantoms and Saints were tied 2-2 after two periods. Phantoms co-captain Austin Cangelosi scored the game-winner on assists by Brown and Padulo to create the Game 5 showdown.
Youngstown advanced to the Eastern Conference Final after ousting the defending champion Green Bay Gamblers, 3-1, in the first round. The Phantoms split their two games in Green Bay before winning twice at the Covelli Centre.